Summertime in Vancouver brings a lot of great events, festivals, and other exhibitions that let you enjoy the great outdoors, while soaking in the comforts of modern living. The Richmond Night Market is one such event. At the Richmond Night Market, you will find all sorts of interesting merchandise at prices well below retail, ranging from blank DVD-Rs to fun Korean stationery. Other items for sale include inexpensive clothing, cheap jewelry, and funky electronic gizmos.
But that’s not why most people go to Richmond Night Market.
Nope, the primary motivation for a lot of locals — particularly those of Asian ancestry — is the food. It may not necessarily be any cheaper than eating at a sit-down restaurant, but the variety is something that you truly need to see to believe. You’ve got imitation shark fin soup, dim sum, potsticker dumplings, and Korean rice rolls, among lots of other great things. As you can see from the photograph above (sorry about the cameraphone quality), the food stalls at Richmond Night Market are incredibly popular. The aisles are literally packed with people, shoulder to shoulder, fighting over a place in line. The merchandise booths may be popular too, but they pale in comparison to the crowd that gathers around the takoyaki stand.
Takoyaki is a Japanese dish. The balls are vaguely similar to fish balls, but there is something special about the light and fluffy batter that I’m not all too familiar with. The “tako” part of takoyaki signifies that octopus is one of the primary ingredients, but the stalls that sell takoyaki also sell variants that include scallop or shrimp instead. Other key ingredients include tempura batter scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. The balls are then topped with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, and katsubushi (fish shavings). These shavings really add an interesting flavor and texture. Takoyaki balls aren’t particularly cheap to eat, however, as an order of six comes at a price of four dollars. I personally think it’s the best thing to eat to Richmond Night Market, nonetheless.
In recent years, the menus at night market have expanded substantially beyond the typical Asian fare. In addition to fried noodles and pork buns, there are also booths that sell Greek gyros, Italian gelato, and Indian curry (but I haven’t spotted any pizza stands… yet).
Unfortunately, you can always leave it up to the Chinese shop owners to butcher the English language.
Believe me, that’s not the worst of it. Not even close. But who cares about spelling when you can get your hands on some good (albeit probably pretty dirty) food.